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Marathon, New York c1900 photos

Tracing my family's history has been very interesting, to say the least. I knew almost nothing beyond my grandparents when I started researching my family's history a little over 20 years ago, but now I've got more information and memorabilia than I know what to do with!

Along the way, as I learn about the places connected to my ancestors, I like to take a virtual tour of the place on Google Maps Street View. I also look for old photographs of the place to see it "first hand". Books dedicated to town, county, and state histories often have lots of photos and illustrations perfect for snipping copies of for the family album. Gazetteers, atlases, yearbooks, newspapers, and postcards are also a good place to find images of places of the past. I've bought several old postcards and photos online to add to my family albums in an attempt to fill the gaps of missing details for posterity's sake.

In this case, though, my father provided me with several antique postcards containing photographs of Marathon, in Cortland County, New York. Several of my ancestors lived in Marathon. My 3rd great-grandmother, Lucy Ann (Shevalier) Hollenbeck was born in Marathon in 1828, my 5th great-grandfather, Williams Huntley, died in Marathon in 1842, and my 4th great-grandfather Peter Shevalier was murdered in Marathon by two drunk men in 1850. Six of my ancestors are buried in Marathon Village Cemetery, including Peter Shevalier's parents, Jeremiah Shevalier and Catherine (Rohrbacker) Shevalier, my great-grandmother, Rose (Hollenbeck) Leonard, along with her parents, Jasper Hollenbeck and Mary Ellen (McGinnis) Hollenbeck, and my grandfather. Others in the immediate family are buried in nearby Willet.

The first postcard I'll share is a rare old photo of East Main Street in Marathon. It was taken at the turn of the 20th century, about 1900. Beyond the Brown's Hotel is the old Baptist Church, followed by and Milo T. Wooster's Drug Store. Mr. Wooster died in 1915. If you follow this road straight and go up the hill, Leonard Road is about four miles away.

Compare the past with the present with this interactive Google Map:

A brief sketch of Marathon's businesses and public places was published in the Cortland Democrat, Friday, April 14, 1899, around the time this photograph was taken. From it, we learn that Brown's Hotel (now Reilly's Cafe) was built around 1885, by Cornelius Brown. Mr. Brown was severely injured on July 23, 1884, "when Barnum's circus tent was struck by a cyclone in Cortland". The tent was filled with about 10,000 people and many were injured.

The story of Barnum's circus tragedy was recalled in the Cortland Democrat in 1900, for those interested in that story.

Next we have three more old photos of Marathon:

Top left: Marathon High School - The school my grandfather attended, which has long since been rebuilt.

Top right: St. Stephen's Church - This Roman Catholic Church is located on Academy Street in Marathon. The corner stone was laid in 1896, and construction began in June of 1897. The crucifix was imported from Munich, Germany, according to The Cortland Democrat, June 4, 1897, edition (front page).

Bottom: Birds Eye View of Marathon, New York - This photograph was taken sometime before October of 1909, the date the postcard was postmarked.

For copies of these photos, choose a link:

Stay tuned for more area photos!



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